Make Paper – Preparing the Vat with Pulp

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 19,183
    Craft expert Gretchen Schermerhorn demonstrates how to make paper and how to prepare the vat with pulp for making paper by hand.

    Gretchen Schermerhorn: Hi, I am Gretchen from Pyramid Atlantic Art Center. Today we are making paper by hand. In this clip, I am going to show you how to unload the beater and bring the pulp into the paper studio and load it into your vat for paper making. Now when your pulp has been beating for somewhere for 45 minutes to an hour-and-a-half, it is going to start to look a lot more all the same, a lot more homogeneous. So what you do is you take a little bit of pulp out of the beater while it is still running and you put it in something clear and you fill up the remaining container with water and then you put your hand over the top or the lid on the top and you shake it up and you hold it up to the light and you look for any of the big clumps that I was just talking about and if you don't see any of those, then you know your pulp is ready. You are going to take the weight off the beater, you will turn off the beater and then make sure you have a bucket underneath the plug and you will unplug it and get all of the pulp into the bucket. Now we just unloaded our beater and we have our pulp right here and we are going to periodically add more pulp to our vat and that's called charging. So when you are taking pulp out to make sheets, you want to make sure that you are putting fresh pulp in to your vat to make more sheets or else your sheets will just get thinner and thinner and thinner. So you want to fill up your vat about halfway full just with water. You can do this with a hose or you can have a bucket that you fill up in a sink and bring it over and put it inside of the vat. Now that our vat is full of water, we are going to add pulp to the vat. Now normally I add about three to four scoops of pulp, but sometimes you need a little bit more and sometimes you might need a little less. Also, considering how thick do you want your sheets of paper because the slurry which is the mixture of pulp and water is really just a proportion of pulp to water. So if you want really thin sheets, then you might not want to add as much pulp and if you wan really, really thick sheets then of course, you are going to add a little bit more pulp. So for this, I am going to add about three scoops of pulp. Now as a rough estimate I am going to say that I am going to add eight cups of pulp to one gallon of water. So in this case, I am adding four of these. Now I am just going to gently stir it around and make sure the consistency feels not too thick or not too thin and just about right. In the next clip, I am going to be showing you how to use this pulp to form sheets of paper.